Saturday, April 13, 2024

Countdown to Trump Criminal Trial #1

Trump Mug Shot, Fulton County Sheriff's Office, State of Georgia

Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York City, former President Donald Trump goes on trial.

The Hush Money Documents Fraud in order to interfere with the 2016 Election Interference case.

Or as the media would like to put it, the Porn Star & the President.

Mr. Trump is charged with FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS IN THE FIRST DEGREE, in violation of New York State Penal Law §175.10, for a total of thirty-four (34) Class E felony charges.

The indictment includes a Statement of Facts, the People’s story of Mr. Trump’s alleged crimes.

This is the first of at least four criminal trials of the former president. Combined these four cases currently include eighty-six (86) felony indictments.

And people are flipping out. Little bit. 

As the trial begins, the first ever criminal trial of a former President of the United States, here is what I think is important to remember… 

This is how it is supposed to work.

Forget all the media covering every breath, breathlessly.

The media want one thing: to freak you out. Why? Scared people tune in, and the media needs to keep you captivated. That is how they earn their living.

And also, forget all the politically biased people ranting either:

   a) it is all a fraud and unjust and wrong, or 

   b) it should have happened years ago, but it doesn’t even matter because he’ll get away with, as he always does.

All these opinions are just more horseshit.

Focus instead on this, if you would…

This is how it is supposed to work.

The law, especially criminal law, is not a reality show. Many reality series not withstanding.

The law has rules. It has protections and safeguards. It has ethical constraints which are enforced. It has history, cases, libraries filled with books, and legal librarians. The law has procedures.

None of it happens to the relentless urgency or pace of modern media. The law takes the time that it takes. And it works the way that it does. Regardless of what others think. 

Criminal law, criminal courts, and criminal trials, are all very much a thing unto themselves.

And again, this is how it is supposed to work.

Maybe the best basketball movie ever is “Hoosiers.”

Hoosiers is a tale of small town high school kids from a never even heard of it before rural town called Hickory, and their basketball coach whom the townspeople didn’t want, whom eventually (spoiler) go to the championship. The movie is damn near perfect.

When these rural kids from Hickory first walk into the arena where they will play the biggest game of their lives, with state and national press, and tens of thousands of screaming fans, they’re taken aback. Most of them have never been in an arena like this in their lives.

So Coach lets them have a moment. And then, this happens:

     Coach Dale has a measuring tape. 

     Dale: “Buddy, hold this under the backboard. What is it?”

     Buddy: “15 feet.”

     Dale: “15 feet.”

     (He walks under the rim)

     Dale: “Strap, put Ollie on your shoulders. Measure this from the rim. Buddy? How far?”

     Buddy: “Ten feet.”

     Dale: “Ten feet. I think you’ll find it’s the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory. Let’s get dressed for practice.”

Here’s my point. Forget all the drama. 

What is about to happen in a Manhattan courtroom starting Monday, April 15, 2024 — a criminal trial — is also happening in over a thousand criminal courtrooms across the United States that very same day. 

Yes. We’ve never had a former President criminal indicted or tried before. That is an actual first. “thank u, next.”

A criminal trial in a city, state, or federal court, is the definition of routine.

There are tens of thousands of judges in our many towns, cities, counties, indigenous nations, fifty states, the District of Columbia, and our multiple territories, as well as the military courts, and the federal circuits. 

Criminal trials have gone on in roughly the same way for the last 248 years since our nation was declared. Some changes here and there. Manhattan courts are different than New Orleans, which are different than Santa Fe. But not by much.

Criminal trials are a deeply practiced, well understood phenomenon. We’ve been doing them a long time. We know how to do them. We do them well. Are we perfect? No.

Especially in criminal cases, rich people, white people, straight men, and police, all typically get breaks everyone else does not. Like the American Dream, we can always get better, and over time we usually, eventually do.

But the waiting for this trial is done. This trial begins Monday, April 15. Period.

No matter your media or social media feeds, there is nothing here worth freaking out.

Trials have robust protections for everyone, from the accused, to the lawyers on both sides, to the judge and courtroom staff. Plus they have security. Oh my do they have security.

Like how awesome we are at delivery pizza — totally routine and deeply practiced — America knows how to put people on trial for their alleged crimes. We do it a lot. 

At the end of a trial, there are three possible outcomes for each criminal charge: Guilty. Not guilty. Or unable to reach a verdict, what is called a ‘hung jury.’

A more senior court can interrupt a trial, however that is exceedingly rare.

The United States Supreme Court is not going to stop this trial. The New York State appellate courts are not going to stop this trial.

This trial is happening, and when it is done there will be verdicts, one for each of the 34 felony charges.

If (or as seems more likely, when) Mr. Trump is convicted, after time for probation reports and other absolutely normal and routine procedures, he will be sentenced. He could be fined. He could be sent to prison. Or both. 

If Mr. Trump is convicted, after being sentenced, he will appeal. This too is normal. It does not mean he is getting away with anything.

This is how law works.


On Monday, try to ignore the media clickbait — it is designed to scare or anger you.

Live your life. What happens will happen.

And if it all gets to you anyway, well then, just remember one thing…

This is how it is supposed to work.